Sunday links.

Chicago’s Crane High School. When they close it, where does the glory go?

The death of Whitney Houston is a sad one. Such a waste. I’ll leave it to others to debate the broader cultural implications. I spent last night  alone watching the news reports and flashing back to visions of my girls when they were kids, pretend microphones in hand, lip syncing to Whitney and mimicking her choreography on the dining room floor. Anne singing along to I’m Every Woman and messing up the words, singing “climb every woman” instead. And the girls giggling at their mom.  My favorite Whitney Houston song: Lyrics by Wyclef Jean. ‘Cause your love is my love and my love is your love. It would take an eternity to break us and the chains of Amistad couln’t hold us.

JC Brizard on Ken Davis’ Chicago Newsroom. Brizard says he just wants to help the teachers union evolve. I think he meant dissolve.

Charlie Pierce and another reason to hate Scott Walker.

Closing Crane High School. Where does the glory go? 

There s a lot to think about in this story of a group of Black high schoolers from the Bronx who get to go to school in Rutland, Vermont. There is the racism of some of the locals, to be sure. And the fortitude of the kids from the Bronx.  But, why doesn’t the New York Times reporter address the issue of why these kids have to leave the Bronx in order to be safe and get a good education?

Tribune reporter David Kidwell had a sit-down with Rahm. The Tribune published a transcript. It is prime evidence of how the Mayor is a bully and a jerk. Kudos to Kidwell. And (am I really saying this?) the Tribune.

But reality has a way of intruding even on “the best and the brightest” when the fundamental assumptions that guide policy are wrong. This happened during the Vietnam War, when an indigenous nationalist revolution was treated as an arm of a global Communist conspiracy, and it is happening now when school failures due to poverty and inequality are being blamed on incompetent teachers and administrators.

So as in Vietnam, we will invest hundreds of billions, maybe trillions of dollars in a cause, which, at the end of the day, will turn into a Fool’s Errand, undermining the careers and demeaning the efforts of the nation’s teachers, dividing communities against themselves, while fattening the pockets of consulting form, test companies and on-line learning firms. 

And ten years down the road, when all the damage is done, policy makers will wake up and call America’s teachers back in to ask “What do you think we should do?” And they will say that teaching has to be a life time calling, and that when dealing with children, there are no miracles- opening minds, and changing lives, requires hard work, persistence, imagination, and a love for the young people you are working with. And those are tasks that cannot be performed by computers or “managed” by people who have never worked with children themselves. Mark Naison


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